MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest
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January 2021  February 2021 March 2021
Sun
7
-
Thu
28

Winter Carnival

St. Paul, MN

The feature this year is a drive-through ice- and snow-sculpture park at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Tickets are $20 per vehicle, $35 for theme packages, and available only in advance.

There will also be three scavenger hunts, pop-up outdoor concerts, ice-fishing, softball and puzzle tournaments and Frozen Family Fun Night.

Tue
2
-
Fri
29

Groundhog Days

Woodstock, IL

The 1993 movie "Groundhog Day'' was filmed in this town an hour northwest of Chicago, and it celebrates with trivia and tours of movie sites, including the 1889 Opera House, where actor Bill Murray jumped from the belfry. At 7 a.m. Tuesday, Woodstock Willie will look for his shadow.

Sat
6
-
Wed
3

Winter Carnival

Houghton, MI

This snow fest at Michigan Tech University includes a human dog-sled race, snow volleyball and a tug of war and ends with a torchlight parade and fireworks at Mont Ripley ski hill.

Sun
7
-
Wed
3

Winterfest and U.S. Snow Sculpting Championship

Lake Geneva, WI

In this lake town, there's music, magic shows, a human sled-dog race, ice bars and an ice castle, plus the U.S. snow-sculpting championship.

Sat
6
-
Thu
4

WinterFest

Crosslake, MN

In this Brainerd Lakes area, there are horse-drawn sleigh rides, bonfires, ice car races, helicopter rides, Friday fireworks and Italian Outdoor Olympics.

Sun
14
-
Thu
4

Winter Festival

Ely, MN

There's snow sculpting, an arts walk and Ely Folk School classes. Much of the festival also can be enjoyed virtually.

Sat
6
-
Fri
5

Snowflake Ski-Jumping Tournament

Westby, WI

At the top of a hill that's the equivalent of a 41-story skyscraper, watch jumpers fly by at 55 mph. It's fun to watch because the jump is built onto the side of a coulee, and spectators can climb it and watch from the top. There are hot drinks and food at the bottom.

Knickerbocker Ice Festival

Lake Mills, WI

The festival in this town east of Madison includes such events as a fish toss, snowball-eating contest, dad-sled race, chili cook-off and Iceberg Open golf tournament. There's ice carving and ice wine, too.

Sun
7
-
Fri
5

Hot Air Affair

Hudson, WI

There will be geocaching, bird-watching, a fat-tire bike race, a corn-hole tournament and drive-through moon glows.

Other events will be virtual.

City of Lakes Loppet

Minneapolis, MN

For recreational skiers, the highlight of this big cross-country ski festival are the nightly Luminary Loppets on Lake of the Isles, with glowing ice pillars and "ruins.'' 

There are also classical and free-style races, orienteering, fat-tire, snowshoeing and skijoring races in Theodore Wirth Park, location of most events.

 

 

 

Magical Ice Fest

St. Joseph, MI

Watch the pros carve sculptures in this Lake Michigan town. There's also entertainment, a scavenger hunt and magic and crafts for kids.

Sat
6

Bald Eagle Watching Days

Prairie du Sac, WI

This town along the Wisconsin River, next to a hydroelectric plant, offers guided bus tours, live birds of prey programs and kids' activities. 

This year, the festival is virtual, with some live programs and some pre-recorded.

Sun
7
-
Sat
6

Winterfest Sled Dog Race

Merrill, WI

More than 100 mushers compete, and there will also be skijoring, children's and celebrity races.

Sun
14
-
Wed
10

Frozen River Film Festival

Winona, MN

This festival shows a large selection of documentaries specializing in adventure, extreme sports and environmental issues.

This year is mostly virtual.

Sat
13
-
Fri
12

Candlelight ski/snowshoe/hike

Around the region

There's nothing better than skiing (or snowshoeing or hiking) through a twinkling forest or across a luminary-lined lake. There's usually a bonfire and hot chocolate to enjoy afterward.

Fire & Ice

Sturgeon Bay, WI

Ice and snow sculptors create pieces around town. There's a novice category for beginners. On Friday, there will be a candlelight ski/hike at Big Creek Nature Preserve, and on Saturday, there will be fireworks.

Sun
14
-
Fri
12

Polar Fest

Detroit Lakes, MN

This festival features such events as ice golf on Friday, a Freeze Your Buns run on Saturday and, on Sunday, a snowshoe hike in Tamarac Wildlife Refuge and kite-flying with professional giant-kite flyers, kite decorating and prizes for amateurs.

 

Sturgeon Spectacular

Fond du Lac, WI

Lake Winnebago is the setting for this celebration of giant fish. There will be ice carving and snow sculpting, a snowman-building contest, bonfires and live music.

Sat
13

Free Entrance Day at Minnesota state parks

All state parks, MN

Entrance to all 75 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas is free today, as well as April 24, June 12 and Nov. 26.

Sun
14
-
Sat
13

Free Weekend in Michigan state parks

All state parks, MI

There's no vehicle-entry fee in Michigan state parks this weekend, and Saturday and Sunday also is Free Fishing Weekend.

Check events listings for fishing derbies and candlelight ski and snowshoe evenings.

Grand Marais Winter Carnival

Grand Marais, MI

On the east end of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, this Lake Superior town offers a poker run, a snowman contest, cardboard-sled races, dog-sled rides and music.

Sun
21
-
Sat
20

Silver Mine Ski Jumping Championships

Eau Claire, WI

Watch top skiers from North America and Europe compete at Silver Mine Hill, above the Chippewa River on the southwest edge of town.

Sun
21

WolfTrack Classic Sled Dog Race

Ely, MN

There's a spaghetti feed Saturday and the race to Tower and back on Sunday, with a chance for spectators to mingle beforehand.

Chinese Lunar New Year's Parade

Chicago, IL

Celebrate the Year of the Ox in Chinatown with a parade, marching bands and lion dancing. It starts at 1 p.m. at 24th Street and Wentworth Avenue.

Sun
28
-
Wed
24

American Birkebeiner

Hayward, WI

The "Greatest Show on Snow'' includes races of all distances for all ages and abilities plus skijoring and vintage ski.

In 2021, racers also are skiing virtual races wherever they live.

 

Sun
28
-
Thu
25

Winterfest

Stillwater, MN

In this St. Croix River town, there will be a parka pub crawl, ice maze, stein-holding and beard contests, axe-throwing, ice carving, ice bowling, a snow labyrinth, bubble-wrap races, an ice-cream social and a fire and ice bar.

Moved from January.

 

Sun
28
-
Fri
26

Grumpy Old Men Festival

Wabasha, MN

There's always good eagle-viewing in this Mississippi River town, and during the festival, there will be an ice-fishing contest, polar plunge and minnow races.

Sat
27

Chili Ice Walk

Racine, WI

Between noon and 4 p.m., walk downtown to see ice sculpting, sample chili from eight restaurants and go on a scavenger hunt in shop windows.

Fri
5
-
Sat
27

Virtual International Festival

Madison, WI

Dancers, musicians, storytellers and puppeteers representing traditions from around the world converge on the Overture Center for the Arts on State Street for this free festival. 

This year, the festival is virtual.